Just Right American Edition Elementary

Components: Student’s book, Student’s Audio CD, Workbook, Workbook CDs, Teacher’s book, Class CD Authors: Jeremy Harmer, Carol Lethaby, Ana Acevedo Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Publishing Summary: Just Right will help the elementary student gain ability and confidence in English without a lot of fuss and pain. Review: This will sound a little cliched, but the title […]
Reviewed for Teflnet by Troy Teshirogi

Components: Student’s book, Student’s Audio CD, Workbook, Workbook CDs, Teacher’s book, Class CD
Authors:
Jeremy Harmer, Carol Lethaby, Ana Acevedo
Publisher:
Marshall Cavendish Publishing
Summary:
Just Right will help the elementary student gain ability and confidence in English without a lot of fuss and pain.

Review:
This will sound a little cliched, but the title of this new series from Marshall Cavendish certainly fits.  It is “just right” for elementary students – not too wordy, not too simplistic, not too goofy.  Just Right covers the usual EFL territory of grammar, vocabulary, listening, speaking, pronunciation, reading and writing – all with a contemporary flair and a kind of laid-back sense of fun.

The text consists of 24 units, each topic-themed and well-fleshed out with colourful photographs and interesting, if not at times, off-the-wall graphics.  The units average between 4 – 6 pages, which might work well with a 2-hour class.  If you are teaching 90 minute classes with a lot of students (20 or more), you might want to give yourself two periods per unit for most of the units.

The Student’s Book comes with an audio CD and a booklet which includes an Activity Bank, a mini-grammar and the audioscript for 14 selected readings from the Student Book.  Some of the activities have been divided into 4 roles – for Students A, B, C and D – and the page in the booklet for each role is listed in the textbook.  If I were using this text in class, I might be tempted to keep all these little booklets in the classroom because a few students inevitably will forget to bring theirs to class.

The text says to “Listen to Track 1/1” and I spent a furtive few minutes flipping through pages and tracks and CDs until I realized that it is the teacher’s CD that they are talking about, not the student’s CD. That is something that should be explained to the students the first day they get their textbook, so that everyone knows exactly what resources are available to them, in class as well as for self-study.

The workbook comes with a detachable answer key as well as 2 audio CDs.   The audio transcripts are at the end of the workbook.  The workbook reviews each unit and adds in some fun stuff like word searches and crossword puzzles.  Most of the workbook units are only two pages long so it isn’t too onerous a task to assign for homework.

The CDs are very well-recorded and the voices are clear, natural and easy to understand.  Most students at the elementary level should find them a reasonable challenge.

The Teacher’s Book is concise and about the same size as the Student’s Book. (some teacher’s books tend to be twice the size of the student’s book, full of good ideas but heavy to lug around).  The introduction includes 9 well-written pages of design principles and methodology – things we should read every once in a while to refresh our own ideas and goals.  Then each unit is covered with all activities explained and in many cases alternative activity suggestions are provided.

Overall, Just Right lives up to its titular claim.  It packs a lot of learning into each unit without being overwhelming, with bright, engaging graphics, interesting content and a well-organized EFL base, Just Right will help the elementary student gain ability and confidence in English without a lot of fuss and pain.

Reviewed by Troy Teshirogi for Teflnet September 2008

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Teflnet : TEFL Book Reviews : Level A : Just Right American Edition Elementary